Ambitious field marketing agency chooses Microsoft for unparalleled scalability and team collaboration.
By Lysa Campbell, Managing Director & Stephen Holdstock, Business and IT Strategy Lead
Orchid Field Marketing are a young and vibrant agency providing nationwide sales and merchandising coverage to the top 4 Grocers, technology retailers, FMCG brands and home entertainment distributers, including Twentieth Century Fox and Coca-Cola. Our goal is to maximise the success of our client's sales campaigns by taking their products to market and making them available to the consumer on time and in the right way. We are passionate about making our customers successful and technology is a key enabler in helping us achieve this.
Founded at the end of 2008, we've enjoyed consistent 50% year-on-year growth. Like our industry however, our team is never static. Depending on the client contracts we are delivering, it can quickly flex up and down to a team of 800 to 900 field staff per month, working remotely across the country. We're a truly multi-channel, multi-location, multi-device business and we were extremely proud to have been recently selected to represent the UK in the European Field Marketing Partners group.
In 2013, the holding group we were part of sold off a key entity, and that sale included the existing IT infrastructure, comprising the Exchange server, Fileshare, Active Directory and Management Services. We had to find a different solution within 4-5 weeks just as we were heading into our busiest season when we typically invoice 40% of our annual revenue. The impact of missing that deadline would have been devastating for our business.
Our industry is as exciting and fast-paced as it can be volatile and aggressive. We needed a solution that provided scalability and flexibility without large amounts of upfront investment. A single contract win may entail the very real possibility of going live with 150 permanent field staff within 4 to 6 weeks; our IT must be able to support this. Our team are the beating heart of our business and we wanted to provide them with the very best business software - we didn't have time for training and it was important they were familiar with this on day one, whilst giving them additional tools and room to grow their capabilities for the longer term.
We needed help! We connected with Cloudamour and their positivity and experience immediately shone through. When we talked to them about the magnitude of the task - the speed of transformation needed without disruption to business-as-usual activity - they were reassuring, gave us the confidence we needed, and found ways around the challenges they knew we might encounter.
Exactly 3 weeks after we pushed the 'go' button, we had a new Microsoft cloud IT environment available for all of our full-time staff, comprising of Office 365, Azure, Windows Server, Active Directory, and Windows Intune. Office 365 provides the team with their daily business productivity applications for documents, email and collaboration. Our extensive knowledge bank was moved onto Azure, where Active Directory provides us with group policies and Single Sign On throughout the estate, and Windows Intune helps us better monitor, manage, and protect our multiple device types.
Office 365 has given us immediate value at exceptional pace. The integration of the complete package is just amazing; the connection between Lync, SharePoint and Outlook is actually reducing email and increasing people contact. Lync has replaced Skype as our platform for online meetings and has really embedded that form of communication into our culture - user adoption has been very exciting to see. You wouldn't believe the team's delight when they encounter some of the new features like 'recommended actions' - simple things like sending an email and getting a prompt to check something!
With both office-based and field teams, SharePoint is helping everyone stay better connected and it's enabling us to make sure remote workers receive communications quickly with a single unified message that allows them to react faster. We're running a number of new initiatives to explore blogging and collaboration across the business and we have accessible biographies for each team member on a SharePoint team site, with job titles and newsfeeds available throughout the entire suite of applications - this continues to foster a strong connection between people in our team that have never met face-to-face.
The Office 365 mobile apps are providing significant benefit by enabling people to capture content on their smartphones and upload it into the Office 365 environment whilst on the move. We've even extended that further with a range of custom applications built on Microsoft technology that we use for in-store data capture and online real-time reporting, as well as introducing a number of Office 365 plug-ins like LinkedIn - they are simple but make a huge difference. Office 365 is so quick to get up and running, we can create new accounts for our team members, and spin-up client facing portals within minutes. We really do feel as if we've joined the enterprise club!
Vitally it also enables us to differentiate ourselves when we pitch for new business. We can create client branded SharePoint sites for pitch presentations and we're able to confidently promise prospective clients that we can mobilise at exceptional pace, whilst meeting their security requirements - that leaves our team to focus on the business of people and results. This has a significant impact.
Microsoft cloud services have really changed the landscape of our business. Our environment can scale at speed to match the velocity of the industry, we have cost flexibility and the comfort that Microsoft processes are best practice and ITIL certified, and that security is far better than we could have achieved ourselves. We can make quick decisions and act fast. Windows Intune has given us a central visibility of all our devices and reduced the time spent on systems management. If we need to on-board 150 new recruits - we can quickly check they all have the right software and that the right policies are enabled. It's a wonderful sanity check that we have the right things in the right place.
As a business, we're able to stand up tall and proud in our industry, show we are forward thinking and say "Look what we can achieve!" It puts us shoulder-to-shoulder with large brands and significantly lessens the gap that smaller organisations often have to bridge. We currently have a number of exciting initiatives in place, we are continuing to invest in our capabilities to establish Orchid as the agency of choice, and we are striving to be placed in the UK Top 10 within 5 years. Our team will have to grow and scale and Office 365 gives us the perfect platform to build on for our future. We're at the start of a very exciting journey and we can't wait to see where we are in 12 months' time.
For more information on Orchid Field Marketing, please visit www.orchid-fm.com
For more information on Cloudamour, please visit www.cloudamour.com
Orchid Field Marketing
Number of Users
45 E3 + E1
Orchid Field Marketing is an award winning agency providing an integrated set of solutions to meet every aspect of its client's requirements, including merchandising, auditing, contract field sales, education/training, demonstrations, sampling, van sales, pre-selling, and competitor insight.
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